[b-hebrew] Fw: Aramaic to them?

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Sun Mar 7 15:42:34 EST 2004

On 06/03/2004 16:46, Dave Washburn wrote:

> ...
>>To make the point more clearly: I think the following, and it seems to
>>me that Blau agrees: There was a community of mother tongue Hebrew
>>speakers, primarily speaking Hebrew and passing it on from generation to
>>generation, until after the time of writing of the DSS. The writers of
>>the DSS were in contact with this community, although we don't know
>>whether they were members of it. The Hebrew in which the DSS was written
>>(i.e. QH) is intermediate between BH and the language of the mother
>>tongue community at that time. The differences between QH and BH may be
>>accounted for, at least in part, by influence from the primarily spoken
>>Hebrew of the mother tongue community.
>I'm not sure this was the case, unless more than one language can be 
>considered a mother tongue, as in the case of folks who grow up bilingual.  
>Without reading all of Blau's paper, which I will have to get by 
>inter-library loan and may take a while, I can't really comment on his views.  
>Still, I got the impression that he said the influence causing change came 
>from Aramaic, not Hebrew.  He did mention "some sort of Middle Hebrew" 
>(whatever that may mean), but he also prefaced those remarks with "no proof 
>exists that they reflect a spoken Hebrew dialect used by the
>members of the Qumran sect."  This would seem to preclude the idea that QH was 
>a transitional form.  It almost sounds as though he's saying it was a sort of 
>construct, sort of like some modern Americans' attempts to mimic KJV-style 
>English.  But again, I need to read the full article before I comment 
I was basing my analysis only on the concluding paragraph from Blau 
which Ken posted, snipped above. In that paragraph he clearly describes 
QH as "exposed to the influence of the spoken vernaculars, viz. Aramaic 
and some sort of Middle Hebrew", in other words the influence came from 
BOTH Aramaic AND Hebrew. Indeed "no proof
exists that [the differences between BH and QH] reflect a spoken Hebrew 
dialect used by the members of the Qumran sect", but Blau clearly 
implies that such a dialect did exist although without specifying its users.

I didn't say that QH was a transitional form, only that it was an 
intermediate form, and that was not my meaning. My intended meaning was 
that it was some kind of mixed form, perhaps as you suggest, although 
not necessarily an artificial construct.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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